Race for the Cure Is Team Event

Jessie Gurley of Washington and her husband, Earl, were among more than 45,000 participants in yesterday's Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure.
Jessie Gurley of Washington and her husband, Earl, were among more than 45,000 participants in yesterday's Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure. "This was my support," Jessie said as Earl comforted her after the race. (By Carol Guzy -- The Washington Post)
By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 3, 2007

When Tammy Brooks's doctors diagnosed her breast cancer last year, the single mother said she did what came naturally: She turned to her friends at the Virginia National Guard.

Yesterday, Brooks, a 19-year veteran of the Guard, and about 100 of her fellow officers marched in the 18th annual Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure, a 5K run around the Mall that the guardsmen turned into a lively military strut.

"Sound off! Everywhere we go! People want to know! Who we are!"

Brooks, 38, of Woodbridge, said her colleagues have spent the past year caring for her and her 10-year-old son. "It happened so all of a sudden," she said. "It was just me and my son. The National Guard stepped in. . . . They made a schedule to take me to the doctor, to bring me food."

Her story typified the support systems for breast cancer patients and survivors that were evident at the race.

Spouses ran beside their wives, children joined in on behalf of their mothers and co-workers banded together to support their colleagues. More than 45,000 people participated in the event, which raised nearly $4 million for breast cancer research, screening and treatment in the District, Maryland and Virginia.

More than 3,800 survivors donned pink T-shirts to distinguish themselves from the rest of the crowd. There were tears, and there was laughter, elicited by an apparent need to poke fun at and not feel conquered by the disease that is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women and that will kill an estimated 40,460 women and 450 men this year.

In the past 18 years, the annual event has raised $30 million, said Hala Moddelmog, president and chief executive of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the grass-roots network responsible for the race.

The organization began with a promise Nancy G. Brinker made to her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died of breast cancer in 1980, to help others with the disease. The group continues to grow, and Moddelmog describes a "bold new goal" to raise $1 billion in the next 10 years.

"We keep running because the race is not over," she told the crowd that gathered before the race in the shadow of the Capitol.

Participants heard from Moddelmog, Katie Couric of CBS News and others. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) talked about a group of women that has successfully lobbied the Defense Department to fund breast cancer research.

TV personality René Syler, a former anchor of "The Early Show" on CBS who underwent a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy last year for breast disease, was the mistress of ceremonies.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2007 The Washington Post Company